Sigma Buster 700

7
£61.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Solid, capable light with enough bite for darker roads
Weight: 
147g

The Sigma Buster 700 front light is a rugged torch type light boasting four sensible modes and decent build quality. Personally, I reckon it's a marked improvement over its 600-lumen predecessor. However, though by no means poor value, at rrp competition is fierce, with many offering a better spec for similar money.

  • Pros: Better output than figures suggest, decent run-times and sensible modes
  • Cons: Slow charge times

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Materials/Specification

We have a high-quality composite casing, incorporating cooling fins for efficient heat dispersal. This is very solid, resisting the usual, everyday carelessness handsomely (including accidental drops onto the garage floor from a metre or so).

The 3300mAh lithium-ion battery features the usual cut-out to prevent damage from depletion and over-charging. Behind the lens, we have the ubiquitous Cree LED and a decent quality reflector.

The switch

This is a sensibly proportioned affair that's easily operated even when wearing winter-weight gloves, but positive enough that accidental power-ups in a bag or pocket are unlikely.

A 'double prod' technique is necessary to power up. There's no memory function, although given we're talking four modes it's hardly a deal breaker. It defaults to 700, then 350, 170 and finally, flashing. Powering down requires a sustained, two-second press.

It also features a dip-beam: a quick double-prod allows rapid switching between 700 and 170 lumens, which is nice when you're transitioning from sticks to suburbs.

The switch also doubles as a pretty standard battery life-cum-charge indicator: clear denotes full to 71%, green 71-31%, red 30%.

Charging is relatively pedestrian, though typical of this genre: 4.5 hours, slightly less, at the mains. Not ideal for workplace refuelling, perhaps, but easy enough courtesy of that ubiquitous micro USB cable.

The silicone port cover requires careful seating, but this becomes intuitive, and it offers decent defence against water/ingress. Sudsy bucket washes and garden hose rinse-overs haven't revealed any obvious weaknesses, either.

Mounts

There are two. The bar mount is a standard screw-type like that employed on the Xeccon Spear 900. A little dated, and arguably less convenient than the watch strap type used on Blackburn's Dayblazer 800 and 1100 when locking up in the street, nonetheless it offers decent tenure to bar/stem diameters between 25.4 and 31.8mm.

Sigma Buster 700 - mount.jpg

There's also a helmet mount included, which seems equally reliable and relatively universal.

Performance

Overall performance impressed me. To my surprise, the full 700 lumens was visible to around the 100 metre mark. In navigational terms, the spot beam is good enough for 17mph along unlit country lanes, with ample warning of potholes/similar hazards. Oncoming traffic registered me from 30 metres or so. It's a similar story when tackling canal towpaths. I've had 1hr 57mins from a full charge.

The 350 lumen is a funny one. It's a little overpowered for town, a little under for semi-rural work. Nonetheless, it's assertive through suburban stretches and great for reading road signs or tending road/trailside mechanicals, too, especially when helmet-mounted.

Other traffic seemed to heed me at 20 metres – 30 or so, atop a lid. Beam quality is also refreshingly pure, and it's returned 3hrs 56mins from a full charge.

> Buyer's Guide: The best front lights for cycling

In built-up areas 170 lumens is about right, where the priority is being seen. In this setting I've tended to pair this to a blinkie in flashing mode.

Talking of which, the Buster's flashing mode is captivating. Delivering 700 lumens, it's a decent daylight option and certainly good enough for murky morning/late training rides. Friends reckoned they could spot me from around 250 metres at dusk, nearer 280 after dark.

I've tended to run this setting alongside my hub dynamo lighting on long, night rides (since one hub produces less than 3w at slower speeds). It's also pleasingly frugal: 17hrs 53mins when fully juiced.

Conclusion

On paper, the Buster 700 sounds unremarkable, pitted against the likes of Blackburn's Dayblazer 800. However, decent output and generally frugal run-times close the gap. Its composite construction saves a few grams, meaning it's less noticeable worn atop a helmet, and it has served me well for camping/similar duties. 

Verdict

Solid, capable light with enough bite for darker roads

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Sigma Buster 700

Size tested: 700 Lumens

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Sigma says:

The BUSTER 700 Helmet Lamp - A real powerhouse

With its powerful 700 lumen luminous flux and 100 m visibility, the BUSTER 700 from SIGMA is a reliable partner for nightly bicycle tours. The bicycle helmet light, equipped with a powerful LED from Cree, has four light modes as well as a fade-in and fade-out function. An integrated slider allows an easy connection with the helmet holder.

High light output and extremely variable

With the 4 lighting modes mentioned above, different lighting scenarios can be implemented with the BUSTER 700. In power mode the helmet light shines with a full 700 lm for approx. 2 hours. The standard mode allows an illumination time of up to 4 hours with 350 lumens. In the energy-saving Eco mode, the BUSTER 700 lights up with 170 lumens for up to 8 hours. In addition, there is the flash mode, in which the bicycle lamp turns on and off alternately for up to 18 hours

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

From Sigma:

360° adjustable bracket

Charging possible during operation

Burn time: 2 h (power mode), 4 h (standard mode), 8 h (Eco mode), 18 h (flash mode)

CREE LED

Power-on protection (double click for ON)

Weight: 145 g (incl. holder)

Integrated micro-USB reload function

Charging time: 4.5 h

Lighting modes: Power mode (700 lm), Standard mode (350 lm), Eco mode (170 lm), Flash mode

Lighting range: 100 m

Light quantity: 700 lumen

Splash-proof according to IPX4

Tool-free mounting

Two-stage battery/charge indicator

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Composites feel really solid and have resisted the usual, everyday carelessness without any obvious signs of damage.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
7/10

Intuitive. Four easily locatable modes and a handy kick down keep things simple.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10

Bar mount was slightly agricultural compared with some, but nonetheless secure and compatible with all those between 25.4 and 31.8mm diameter. Helmet mount also no frills but similarly reliable and effective.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

Meets IPX4. Good, in the everyday sense. Passed my garden hose test without incident. However, be sure the micro-USB port flap is always fully home.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

Generally decent run-times relative to others in this class; 4.5 hours recharging is also typical of these commuter-plus lamps.

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10

Better than I was expecting, especially navigating unlit lanes.

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
5/10

Less appealing than some on paper, relative to specification. However, four sensible modes cater competently for most contexts.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the Buster 700 seems a better front light than its 600 predecessor. Though a little underpowered for serious rural speed work, navigational prowess is good enough for 17/18mph and the beam quality is quite captivating to oncoming traffic. Flashing is also very good and (as would be expected), frugal too. There are more powerful units that represent better value, if you are needing additional power on your commute/training run. That said, overall, it addresses the design brief competently.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Brighter than numbers suggest, intuitive to use and feels solid.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

By no means poor value, but specification lower than some at this end of the market.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

A little expensive at rrp relative to output and features, but mostly on sale online for less than £50. 

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Possibly

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Would be worth considering.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a decent light that covers most bases but faces stiff competition at this price point.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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